As much as the Damian Lillard trade saga is dominating NBA news nowadays, Donovan Mitchell's situation with the Cleveland Cavaliers may be on the docket as the next big storyline around the Association. Mitchell is reportedly not expected to sign a contract extension with the Cavs this summer, which led to speculation that he might not see himself in Cleveland for the long run.
Following the Cavaliers' disappointing playoff exit at the hands of the New York Knicks, many thought the franchise to fire J.B. Bickerstaff and find a better winning coach who could take this team to the next level. But surprisingly, they brought back the 44-year-old. The Cavs did reload by acquiring Max Strus in a sign-and-trade deal with the Miami Heat. They also brought in Georges Niang to add more three-point shooting to a team that was just outside the top 10 in three-point percentage this past season.
Those signings aren't necessarily game-changers for Cleveland. Nobody really sees them as a real threat in the East despite finishing with a 50-win season the year before. Unless Evan Mobley makes a monstrous jump, this team will likely have a first-round ceiling again this season.
With that said, changes need to be made in order to keep Mitchell happy in Cleveland, or else it's very possible he will bolt by as soon as the 2025 offseason, where he has a player option to exercise. The Cavaliers can make those changes prior to training camp to show Mitchell that they are serious about competing as soon as possible. With that, here are two trade candidates for the Cavs entering training camp.
1. Caris LeVert
Caris LeVert is one potential trade candidate for the Cavs ahead of training camp. LeVert has been somewhat lost in the mix with the Cavaliers, especially after they acquired Mitchell last offseason. When the Cavs initially brought in the shooting guard, many saw this as Cleveland finally looking to make some noise in the East. LeVert just came off a couple of strong scoring seasons with the Indiana Pacers. Many believed he would become a significant piece on this young roster led by Darius Garland, Evan Mobley, and Jarrett Allen.
However, LeVert hasn't quite panned out for the Cavs. Sure, he still plays over 30 minutes per game and plays a pretty significant role as a scorer off the bench. But Cleveland may be better off finding players who can do other things on the court other than score. The Cavs already have a plethora of scoring options with Mitchell and Garland on the perimeter and Mobley figuring to take the next step this upcoming season.
LeVert works best with the ball in his hands. But with Cleveland, he has been relegated as a secondary creator at best if he plays with Garland or Mitchell at all times. The Cavs may be better off finding a piece who can complement and fill the holes this roster has, such as a 3-and-D player who can consistently knock down threes and defend the opposing team's best perimeter players. LeVert is neither one of those.
2. Isaac Okoro
Speaking of 3-and-D players, the Cavs could have one only if Isaac Okoro could shoot more consistently and more often from beyond the arc. Okoro is one of the best perimeter defenders in his class and is often Cleveland's designated point-of-attack defender against the opposing team's lead ball handler. As such, Okoro checks the box in that regard.
However, the 6-foot-5 forward just isn't much of the kind of threat from beyond the arc the Cavaliers need to support Mitchell, Garland, and company. Sure, he shot a pretty decent 36.3 percent from three in 2022-23 and 35.0 percent the year before. However, that came on extremely low volume — 2.3 attempts per game in each of the two seasons.
If the Cavs don't believe Okoro can develop his outside shooting, they should consider trading him for a more consistent and confident shooter from beyond the arc.